Monday, 4 April 2011

A Preposterous Perk

Although I've been out of the employment market for a few years I shouldn't think procedures have changed too radically. Job descriptions continue to be the main source of information for those seeking work and these days many are available online as a download; a much faster system than writing to a personnel department requesting details.

Not only do job descriptions give the interested parties information about the position, but they provide details of working hours, salary and other benefits if any.

Local authority council leaders (chief executives) must be aware, prior to accepting the post, that very possibly they would be required to act as returning officers for national and local elections - including referenda - and the public would expect this particular duty to be covered by the very significant salary they receive.  Not so. They are paid bonuses for undertaking this part of their job: eye-watering sums of money can be claimed.

The Westminster government sets the 'additional payments' for national elections/referenda and the Scottish parliament determines the pay for Holyrood elections. This year returning officers could receive well over the average annual salary for supervising the AV referendum with Scottish CEOs receiving an additional fee for declaring regional Holyrood results.

Glasgow's CEO, who supervises nine constituencies, could earn around £44,000 on top of his £170,000 annual salary with Edinburgh's CEO, looking after five constituencies, not far behind at around £34,000 in addition to her £158,000 annual salary.

The government say that the fees are 'only maximum amounts and returning officers were not required to claim the full pay-out'.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said:

"The fee is paid for the returning officer's responsibility for organising the election in their area from start to finish, including setting up polling stations, making arrangements for ballot papers and organising the count. It is expected that returning officers are mindful of costs throughout all of these stages and keep costs to a minimum."  source

These fees/additional payments/bonuses are abhorrent.  Returning officer duties should be included in the CEOs' salaries and any overtime involved with the task should be rewarded exactly as it is for other public sector workers.

More and more senior public 'servants' are behaving like bankers yet the public say little.  There will be some who say without paying such salaries and perks local authorities would not attract the best people for the job.  I disagree.  Few council CEOs would achieve such pay outwith the public sector as most have gained their experience only within it and they certainly wouldn't receive the very handsome pensions and golden handshakes.


Elby the Beserk said...

Oh you've got to pick a pocket or twoooooo,
You've got to pick a pocket or two.

Local Government is now little more than a major shakedown exercise.

All your money is ours.


subrosa said...

This is disgusting Elby. Being returning officer is part of the job. Why should it be remunerated separately?

Jo G said...

All duties required during the coming election, including counts, should be done by unemployed people with the necessary skills. Have a look around your polling station: many of those counting are teachers or other public sector works. All earning extra pin money. I'll bet there are people unemployed these days who could beat your average Returning Officer hands down on qualifications.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, with which I agree 100%.

They are presumably working on these things during the time that they are being paid to work for the council.

Surely, if they must be paid that amount, then the time that they spend on that job must be deducted from their salary as council boss.

Otherwise, let someone else have the job. For that money I will do it. I'm a good organiser, and at a very [part time job for a very full time salary, I could spend the rest of my life writing blogs!!

Nick Clegg says this country should now be all about fairness... and there are unemployed people while these people are being paid to do two jobs at the same time.

Words escape me... well, words you'd let me say at least.

subrosa said...

Jo, all those in my polling station are public sector workers. I asked a few elections ago if I could get a job and explained I had no trouble working through the night either. I was told all positions were filled and that was months beforehand.

It's who you know not what you know.

subrosa said...

It's a disgrace Tris and a complete insult to those on small salaries, the unemployed or active pensioners.

These 'additional payments' would keep me in luxury for 5 years at least.

JRB said...

Nice Work If You Can Get It
(George & Ira Gershwin)

“The man who only lives for making money
Lives a life that isn't necessarily sunny
Likewise the man who works for fame
There's no guarantee that time won't erase his name…

… Nice work if you can get it
And if you get it, won't you tell me how?”

subrosa said...

Thank you John. Very appropriate too.

They won't tell us though.

banned said...

"returning officers were not required to claim the full pay-out".
Yeah right, I'm sure that you will keep us informed SR.

subrosa said...

I'll do my best banned. Of course the info won't be available until the end of the next financial year in the hope that we've forgotten their greed.

Apogee said...

Hi SR, I think the High Heid Yin's who control things can do quite well, the slaves on the bottom of the pile will get the basic six quid an hour,and not a lot more.

Brian said...

Us and Them. Society is becoming ever more polarised between the soducracy and the rest of us who pay for them and the underclass. The only good thing to come from the Libyan fiasco is that ordinary people have a fighting chance against a corrupt state. I sincerely hope that government/big business realises its errors before it is too late.

subrosa said...

Paid and time off in lieu I believe Apogee. If I'd have got the job then I would only have been paid the basic as you say.

subrosa said...

The problem with Libya Brian is that I'm suspect about the 'opposition'. Who are they? Protesters who delight in firing any gun they find/possess into the air or something more?

There's a lot more to the protesters in Libya and I'm not comfortable with the lack of investigation at present.

Elby the Beserk said...

Nothing has changed. Just observe the antics of the head of Suffolk CC, a ladey who I heard on an R4 programme some months agoi justifying the fact that her salary was nearly a thirdh higher than her predecessor.

The body that sets council heads' salaries is staffed by ...

staffed by ...

go on - you can guess...

Council heads.

Jobs for the boys and girls.

Exit left, snarling...

Elby the Beserk said...

How can it by that councils can still operate closed shops, and advertise jobs internally in many cases?

subrosa said...

Don't snarl Elby complain about it. Unfortunately many MPs don't even bother to personally reply to their constituents letters and unless you can get the attention of the Daily Mail, it's not a runner.

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